Contingent Staffing Virtual Summit + Expo

August 24 - 25, 2021

Online (ET)

12-4pm ET

IBM Is Using Artificial Intelligence to Create a Better Contingent Candidate Experience

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Artificial intelligence is helping industry the world over become more profitable and productive than ever before.

Able to work out millions of calculations in the blink of an eye, AI can do in a moment what would take weeks for a human to complete. Artificial intelligence can spot patterns and optimization issues with a far keener eye than a human, enabling processes to be streamlined to previously unheard-of levels.

This is equally true in contingent staff procurement as it is in any other arena, and IBM is showing the world how.


As a huge company and a massive recruiter of people, IBM is uniquely placed to come up with innovative solutions to HR-related issues. A big part of IBM's business is in developing platforms and software which can be deployed by other companies to solve all manner of pain points.

"Even with the positive improvements overall, and better processes and recruiting technologies that empower talent acquisition professionals to spend more time investing in candidate communication and feedback loops, there are so many factors pummeling a business year-round that the heavy lifting in recruiting is in the sustaining of candidate experience improvements over time, beyond year one," said IBM's President of Global Programs and Talent Board, Kevin Grossman. "There are leadership changes, and team churn, and economic impacts, and political impacts."

While people tend to think candidate experience factors only apply to permanent staff, that mindset couldn't be farther from the truth. After all, the experience temporary staff have with your organization, whether they're with you for a day or a year, will inform the attractiveness of you for the contingent workforce at large.

There is currently a war on for brands to acquire the best talent. Many contingent workers can pick and choose the jobs they find the most attractive. Therefore, it will be imminently beneficial to your business to consider the candidate experience of your temporary staff alongside your permanent employees.

"Improving recruiting and candidate experience is not for the faint of heart," continues Grossman. "It's a big progressive step for those just beginning the journey of candidate experience benchmarking, asking for candidate feedback, rating their experience, and then identifying one or two improvement initiatives to invest resources in. And not all things are equal considering the size and stage of organization, the industry, whether in a boom or bust cycle, and the list goes on."

Artificial Intelligence

One way in which IBM is looking to improve the candidate experience is with a brand new business unit called IBM Talent & Transformation.

The remit of IBM Talent & Transformation is to help train people in AI-related skills, but IBM is also using the technology to improve workflows, help tackle bias, and integrate all manner of new technology into the workplace in general, with a focus on HR, specifically.

"Businesses today face dual demands of undertaking digital transformation and reinventing their businesses and processes through the application of new technologies such as AI, automation and blockchain," said Senior Vice President at IBM Global Business Services, Mark Foster. "Contending that the biggest barrier to progress will lie in accessing the right talent and skills, IBM believes that building a workforce to compete in the era of AI is as much about culture and specialized expertise as it is about technology."

While AI has many applications in the HR space, the one most relevant to contingent staff procurement is the ability it grants to recruiters to build specific talent acquisition initiatives. With AI, companies can quickly and easily match skills to roles, enabling them to source appropriate staff in a more streamlined and efficient manner than previously possible.

For example, if temporary staff are needed to fill the gaps in a team of programmers, recruiters can input the specific parameters they are looking for - known programming languages, education level, years of experience, etc. - and let the AI do the hard work of matching appropriate people from an agency's database. The AI can then initiate communication with appropriate candidates and lead them through the process of recruitment and onboarding.

Once the candidate has completed their time with the company, their experiences can be sought and recorded. These experiences can then be used to further develop the way in which the AI interacts and engages contingent staff in the future.

Final Thoughts

"Those who had a 'great' overall experience tend to say they'll definitely increase their employer relationships - they'll apply again, refer others, and make purchases when applicable."

You can hear IBM's Global Category Chair of Subcontract Services, Patrick Gaynor, speak at Contingent Staffing 2019, taking place in July at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, MN.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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